This is a Easter procession in Spain. I don't know what possessed the Ku Klux Klan to copy the robes and hoods worn in Spanish religious processions, especially considering how anti-Catholic the Klan is, but they did.
And even though I understand why the processions dress that way, it still creeps me out. The tall hats represent penitence and the mask allows the procession members to contemplate their repentance alone in a crowd, undistracted by friends who might otherwise be waving hello from the sidewalk.
The processions are solemn funeral marches for Jesus. Today's morning news included an interview of a sobbing woman. She was a member of the fraternity in Seville, the city that has the best Easter processions in all Spain, outstanding not just for their enormous care in every aspect -- the robes, the incense, the music, the synchronized marching, perfect in every detail -- but for their great religious fervor.
The most important element of a procession is the statue that the marchers carry or accompany. They are usually of Jesus or Mary, life-sized, several centuries old, sculpted by the finest artists of their day, and made of painted wood. It rained last night in Seville. The artistic treasures had to remain in the churches. After a year of loving preparations, last night's five processions in Seville were canceled.
With luck, the Holy Week processions in Seville, Madrid, and other cities across Spain scheduled for tonight and for the rest of the week will go on as planned.
The photo is of a Sunday night Seville procession from 20 Minutos newspaper.